Chocolate, lollies, cake, balloons, pass the parcel, loads of presents, friends and party hats and swirling twirling party skirts and singing: “Happy Birthday”!
Our family has hit birthday season with a haze-filled thump. With our kids having birthdays 10 days apart and what with baking cakes for school, Scouts and not to mention having something with candles stuck on top to blow out at home, I usually get lost in a baking whirl and this recipe has saved my skin year after year.Becoming something of a birthday cake-making factory, I think I’ve even tripled or quadrupled this mixture in the past.
You just throw all the ingredients in the mix master bowl and press the button. That’s it. The Ganache Icing is also deceptively simple and again, virtually instant and lusciously chocolicious!!
This recipe has been written in very easy to follow steps, bearing kids and inexperienced bakers in mind. So, you no longer have to resort to packet mixes and bought cakes. You, too, can bake from scratch, be a Masterchef and smile for the camera…I made it myself!
That’s right. You can do it!!
I’ve cooked with my kids all their lives. However, last year I decided it was time to ramp things up so they could cook a meal and become more independent. During this time, I realised that cooking teaches us so much more than simply producing a meal or a cake we can eat. It also teaches sequencing, time-management, multi-tasking, planning, health and nutrition as well as being environmentally-minded. It is also an ideal time to chat and bond with our kids, although things can get a bit fraught when creative minds don’t follow instructions and get ahead of the proceedings.
However, at these times as you’re counting to ten doing your deep breathing exercises, it could be a timely reminder that life isn’t just about the destination. We also need to make the most of the journey and be a bit flexible…especially when it comes to adapting our adult ideas of cake perfection to the realities of living with kids.
As John Lennon said and I have quoted many times on my blog:
So without further sub-plots and asides, let the baking begin and don’t forget to lick but not double-dip the spoon!
Easy Peasy Chocolate Party Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes.
185g softened butter, diced
2 teas vanilla essence
1 3/4 cups castor sugar
2 cups Self-Raising Flour, sifted
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
(I have also mixed in about 250g blueberries and sprinkled macadamia nuts over the top but I keep them fairly plain for the kids)
1) Turn oven onto 180 degrees Celsius.
2) Line a 12 cup muffin or cupcake tin with patty papers. I usually give the tray a coat of pray oil beforehand for ease of cleaning afterwards.
3) Sift four and cocoa into a large mixing bowl.
4) Add diced butter, vanilla essence, castor sugar, eggs and water.
5) Beat on low speed of an electric mixer master until the ingredients have combined. Then increase the speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and have gone lighter in colour.
6) Spoon a heaped dessertspoon of mix into each patty paper.
7) Bake for around 10-15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
8) Stand for 5 minutes and then turn upside down on a wire rack to cool.
9)When the cake has cooled, ice with Chocolate Ganache.
250g good quality Milk or Dark Chocolate (Kids prefer milk and adults prefer dark here)
1/3 cup cream
Fancy decorations like sprinkles, hundreds & thousands,stars etc optional.
1) Melt the chocolate in the microwave for about 1 minute. Remove.
2) Add cream.
3) Stir well.
4) Perhaps, I was just lazy but I simply dropped a teaspoon of Chocolate Ganache on top of each cupcake for a rich,decadent look. However, the kids couldn’t resist adding that splash of colour (and goodness knows how many artificial colours and flavours). Each to their own.
Happy Baking & even Happier Birthdays!
PS Just to prove that I’ve been making this cake for awhile, here’s this variation of a theme: Chocolate Hazelnut Indulgence Cake. It even has hazelnut praline. Yummy!